Jeff Francoeur drives Atlanta's new "Golden Boy" to the ballpark


Francoeur SI cover.jpgDon’t tell Craig, but according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Jeff Francoeur drove 20-year-old phenom Jason Heyward to Citi Field on Friday night.

As O’Brien relays, Francoeur originally intended to pick up old chum Brian McCann, but when he arrived at the Manhattan hotel where the Braves were staying, Chipper Jones and Heyward also jumped in the car.

“He probably said three words the whole way over,” said Francoeur,
smiling. “He’s just sitting there. But he’s having fun. That’s the kind
of thing that’s going to allow him to have success and not go through
the rollercoaster ride that I went through. He’s very, very mature for
his age. It’s incredible.”

Looks like a little bit of Francoeur rubbed off on Heyward, as he struck out three times in four at-bats on Friday night. Whatever it takes.

Miguel Cabrera, Dee Gordon win AL and NL batting titles, respectively

Miguel Cabrera
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Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera didn’t play in the Tigers’ season finale against the White Sox, but he has officially clinched the AL batting title with a .338 average following Sunday’s action. It’s Cabrera’s fourth batting title in his last five seasons.

Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon entered Sunday’s season finale with a bit more pressure. He was in a tight race with Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper for the NL batting title, trailing only by rounding to the fourth place, .3307 to .3306. Gordon went 3-for-4 in a loss to the Phillies while Harper went 1-for-4 in a loss to the Mets. As a result, Gordon officially won the NL batting title with a .330 average. It’s the first batting title of Gordon’s brief career. Hanley Ramirez was the Marlins’ last batting champion, doing so in 2009.

Report: Angels to announce Billy Eppler as new GM on Monday

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels are expected to announce Billy Eppler as their new general manager on Monday. Eppler had been serving as the assistant general manager with the Yankees.

Jerry DiPoto had been the Angels’ GM but he stepped down on July 1. DiPoto later joined the Red Sox in an advisory role, then was named the Mariners’ new GM last week.

The Angels lost to the Rangers in Sunday’s season finale, which eliminated them from contention for the second AL Wild Card spot. They finished 85-77. Most of their regulars are under contract for the 2016 season, but Eppler will have to decide whether to tender contracts to seven arbitration-eligible players while filling in the rest of the roster.